ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2013-694
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Route reference: 2013-315
Ottawa, 16 December 2013
Corus Premium Television Ltd.
New Westminster, British Columbia
Application 2013-0121-7, received 23 January 2013
CFMI-FM New Westminster and its transmitter CFMI-FM-1 Whistler – Licence renewal
The Commission renews the broadcasting licence for the English-language commercial radio station CFMI-FM New Westminster and its transmitter CFMI-FM-1 Whistler from 1 January 2014 to 31 August 2020.
1. Corus Premium Television Ltd. (Corus) filed an application to renew the broadcasting licence for the English-language commercial radio station CFMI-FM New Westminster, British Columbia, and its transmitter CFMI-FM-1 Whistler, which expires 31 December 2013.
2. The Commission received an intervention by the Province of British Columbia relating to the participation of CFMI-FM in the National Public Alerting System (NPAS). The public record for this application can be found on the Commission’s website at www.crtc.gc.ca under “Public Proceedings.”
3. As specified in its three-year plan, the Commission will be looking at measures to ensure the participation of Canadian broadcasters and telecommunications service providers in the NPAS. Therefore, the Commission will not impose conditions of licence requiring the participation of broadcasters in the NPAS at this time. However, the Commission expects all licensees to voluntarily participate in the NPAS so that Canadians receive timely warnings of imminent perils.
4. In Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2013-315, the Commission stated that the licensee was in apparent non-compliance with its condition of licence relating to Canadian talent development (CTD) contributions, for the 2007-2008 broadcast year. Specifically, the licensee directed a portion of its required CTD contribution to the Pirate Entertainment Group (PEG) initiative, which is an eligible initiative under the Commission’s Commercial Radio Policy (see Broadcasting Public Notice 2006-158) but contains an element that is ineligible under that policy. In Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2013-315, the Commission further noted that the licensee was in apparent non-compliance with section 15 of the Radio Regulations, 1986 (the Regulations), relating to Canadian content development (CCD) contributions, for the 2008-2009 and 2010-2011 broadcast years. Specifically, the licensee directed a portion of its required CCD contributions for each of those broadcast years to the Kettleby Communications Inc. (Kettleby) and Live Nation initiatives, respectively, which are ineligible under the Commercial Radio Policy.
Pirate Entertainment Group
5. Corus stated that it believed that the PEG initiative, a spoken word initiative funded during the 2007-2008 broadcast year, was an eligible initiative under the Commercial Radio Policy given that it met one of the fundamental criteria of that policy, specifically, that it was an independent party dedicated to producing new spoken word content that would otherwise not be produced for broadcast. Further, it argued that the costs covered by its contribution were incremental to regular operational and programming costs. Finally, the licensee stated that although the programs proved to be unsuitable for broadcast on radio, the funds were nevertheless invested in the production of spoken word audio content.
6. The Commission notes that while the PEG initiative is an eligible CCD initiative, it provides for audience focus testing. This element of the PEG initiative does not relate to audio content for broadcast, but instead consists of an opinion survey to test audience reactions to programming and advertising. In previous decisions, the Commission has ruled that expenditures relating to opinion surveys constitute regular programming costs and as such are ineligible as CCD contributions. As a result, expenditures on this element of the PEG initiative are ineligible as CCD contributions.
7. The Commission further notes that a number of stations owned and operated by Corus have contributed to the PEG initiative. In the context of past licence renewals for these stations, the licensee explained that it has previously claimed such expenditures and was not informed that these were not eligible CCD contributions. In the Commission’s view, the licensee therefore had reason to believe that its contribution to the PEG initiative, including to the ineligible element of that initiative, was made in good faith.
8. Although the Commission considers that Corus is in non-compliance with its CTD contributions in regard to the PEG initiative, it will not require the licensee to redirect the shortfall to another CCD initiative given the particular circumstances surrounding the non-compliance.
Kettleby Communications Inc.
9. In Broadcasting Decision 2010-864, the Commission renewed the broadcasting licence for CKNW New Westminster. In that decision, it deemed ineligible a CCD contribution made by Corus to Kettleby for the 2008-2009 broadcast year given that the expenses associated with the initiative were considered regular programming expenses of the same nature as the hiring of freelance program contributors. The Commission notes that the licensee rectified its non-compliance by making an appropriate contribution to MUSICACTION.
10. In regard to the present case, the Commission notes that the CCD contribution to Kettleby was made prior to the issuance of Broadcasting Decision 2010-684, and that once Corus realized that its contribution was ineligible, it immediately paid the shortfall by issuing a cheque for the full amount to MUSICACTION. The Commission therefore considers that this shortfall has been rectified.
11. The Live Nation initiative was a “win to get in” event that was reserved for listeners to the station who qualified by calling in to the station. Corus stated that four of its stations contributed to the Live Nation initiative, and that the contributions were made based on its understanding of the CCD criteria at that time. It further stated that it has since received additional guidance from the Commission, through various decisions and information bulletins, as to what does and does not constitute an eligible CCD initiative. The licensee cited in particular Broadcasting Decision 2010-972, in which the Commission deemed ineligible for CCD support two concert events that were limited to a “station’s loyal listeners who qualified by calling in to the station.”
12. Noting that it made CFMI-FM’s contribution to the Live Nation initiative prior to the issuance of Broadcasting Decision 2010-972, Corus immediately paid the shortfall by issuing a check for the full amount to FACTOR. The Commission therefore considers that this shortfall has also been rectified.
13. The Commission considers that the licensee’s contributions to the ineligible initiatives described above were made in good faith. Furthermore, it notes that the licensee has hired a senior manager who is now charged with the responsibility of ensuring that staff members at all of its radio stations are aware of the requirements and of the criteria relating to CCD contributions, and that this senior manager will coordinate the internal overview of all of the licensee’s contributions to CCD initiatives at a corporate level. This includes a review by the company’s legal and regulatory staff of all new and/or amended initiatives that have not been confirmed as eligible.
14. Nevertheless, the Commission finds the licensee in non-compliance with its condition of licence relating to CTD contributions for the 2007-2008 broadcast year, and with section 15 of the Regulations for the 2008-2009 and 2010-2011 broadcast years.
15. In Broadcasting Information Bulletin 2011-347, the Commission announced a revised approach to non-compliance by radio stations. Specifically, the Commission indicated that each instance of non-compliance would be evaluated in its context and in light of factors such as the quantity, recurrence and seriousness of the non-compliance. The Commission also indicated that it would consider the circumstances of the non-compliance, the arguments provided by the licensee and the measures taken to rectify the situation.
16. The Commission considers that initiatives relating to the development of Canadian content and talent not only help to develop and advance the careers of emerging Canadian artists, but increase the supply of high-quality Canadian music in a variety of genres and the demand for Canadian music by listeners. Accordingly, it is important that radio licensees make their required contributions to the development of Canadian content and talent.
17. As noted above, the Commission considers that Corus made its CTD/CCD contributions in good faith and notes that the licensee has paid its various CCD contribution shortfalls. Given the circumstances surrounding Corus’s non-compliance for CFMI-FM, and given that the licensee is addressing past issues relating to CCD through the hiring of a senior manager to oversee its stations’ CCD contributions, the Commission considers it appropriate to grant a full term renewal to this station.
18. In light of all of the above, the Commission renews the broadcasting licence for the English-language commercial radio programming undertaking CFMI-FM New Westminster and its transmitter CFMI-FM-1 Whistler from 1 January 2014 to 31 August 2020. The terms and conditions of licence are set out in the appendix to this decision.
19. Pursuant to section 22 of the Broadcasting Act, the Commission reminds the licensee that the broadcasting licence will cease to have any force or effect if the broadcasting certificate issued by the Department of Industry lapses.
20. Because this licensee is subject to the Employment Equity Act and files reports concerning employment equity with the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development, its employment equity practices are not examined by the Commission.
- Various radio programming undertakings – Administrative renewals, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2013-418, 19 August 2013
- Notice of applications received, Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2013-315, 2 July 2013
- Revised approach to non-compliance by radio stations, Broadcasting Information Bulletin CRTC 2011-347, 26 May 2011
- CHBN-FM Edmonton – Acquisition of assets, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2010-972, 23 December 2010
- CKNW New Westminster – Licence renewal, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2010-864, 23 November 2010
- Commercial Radio Policy 2006, Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2006-158, 15 December 2006
*This decision is to be appended to the licence.
Appendix to Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2013-694
Terms, conditions of licence and expectation for the commercial radio programming undertaking CFMI-FM New Westminster, British Columbia and its transmitter CFMI-FM-1 Whistler
The licence will expire 31 August 2020.
Conditions of licence
1. The licensee shall adhere to the conditions set out in Conditions of licence for commercial AM and FM radio stations, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2009-62, 11 February 2009, as amended from time to time.
2. The licensee is authorized to use a Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operation (SCMO) channel for the purposes of broadcasting a Tamil-language radio service.
The Commission reminds the licensee that, as stated in section 3(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act, it is responsible for the programs that it broadcasts. The licensee is therefore expected to ensure that its Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operation (SCMO) service is operated in a responsible manner and to adhere to the guidelines regarding the provision of SCMO services set out in Appendix A to Services Using the Vertical Blanking Interval (Television) or Subsidiary Communications Multiplex Operation (FM), Public Notice CRTC 1989-23, 23 March 1989.
 In that decision, the Commission approved an application by Rogers Broadcasting Limited for authority to acquire, from CTV Limited and Milestone Broadcasting (Edmonton) Limited, partners in a general partnership carrying on business as Edmonton Urban Partnership, the assets of the English-language commercial radio station CHBN-FM Edmonton.
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